Sunday, July 28, 2013

Pastor's Spouses make Great Sales people

In truth - Christian's in general probably make great sales people too, but please - let me run with my potentially terribly wrong broad, sweeping stereo-type for the time being...

It's 11:30 pm and I can't get to sleep because I'm hyped up about my experience this week as an Arbonne vendor at a local consignment sale. (Wait - I'm promise these too relate, and I promise this isn't a pitch for Arbonne...necessarily ;-) Also - Sarah actually went to bed without a fight at 7:30 - the earliest ever and I know as soon as my head hits the pillow she will wake up screaming for food)

I can sell you Arbonne and sewing machines until the cows come home because I'm sharing a sincere passion with you. I want to tell you about them because of the joy it brings me and because I sincerely think they're the best thing out there. 

Same thing with Jesus. I can talk to you about Jesus all day long - not because I have the answers (Lord only knows!)...certainly not because I know the bible like the back of my hand.  I can tell you how great my God is because I can tell you how great my God has been not just for me, but for all of salvation history.

Let's face it - everyone sees right through that salesperson who does it for the money. I'm not selling you Arbonne because I happen to make money doing it. I sell it because I love it and I want to share it with people...and making money is an awful great side benefit.

I met as many fantastic connections for church as I did for my Arbonne business this weekend. To my right, was Embry's Diaper Emporium - yet another Pastor's spouse - Emily wife to Church of Christ preacher Brian. To my left was Lesa - (and FORGIVE ME - but I can't remember which church you said you went to1) an active member in Mops (the program we're getting ready to kick off at BSLC) until she and her kids "aged" out of the system. I even met a woman who teaches early childhood music (a la kindermusik or musikgarten) who loves Taize. (What random people do you meet know about the Taize community in France?)

I'm so on fire about this MOPS thing starting this fall...and here's why I've decided Pastor's spouses are fantastic sales people. Our hearts are SO on fire for Jesus - we believe in His cause so much - that it's worth it to sacrifice certain things in our families for our spouses to be pastors.

Emily - with Embry's Diaper Emporium - also a pastor's wife - has a jam-up diaper business - why? Because she sincerely believes in them as not just a way to make money - but because she used them on her son, fell in love with them and wants to share that passion with EVERYONE.  

As Emily, Lesa and I all talked about network marketing and self-run businesses I constantly heard so and so sells _______ (and she's a pastor's wife too). I can't speak for Emily, but for me sharing Arbonne is natural to me. I love Jesus so much - I want our whole family to be a part of sharing what God does in and through him. I love all natural skin care and nutrition and the way Arbonne products make me feel - I want you to know how fantastic it is! Sewing brings so much joy to my life - I want to share it with you! (Now please...don't think in anyway I'm comparing Arbonne or sewing machines to Jesus Christ.) I'm just wired to share what I love with anyone and everyone.

Lutherans - historically - probably make the worst sales people - especially for their faith. Our piety and guilty feelings over the need to be incredibly humble often leads us down the path of spiritual solitude. I can't even begin to hear the number of times I've heard people say they don't like to talk about their relationship with God because it's a private matter and none of anyone else's business. (In reality nothing could be farther from the truth. The phrase "We're better together" means SO much more in the church)

I love the Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists and non-denoms for their ability to do small group ministry and faith sharing SO much better than us Lutherans. (SHOCKER - I, the lifelong Lutheran -  often had a better time participating in these kind of relational minitries of the Pres/Methods/Baptists than my own church - just turns out I'm a sucker for Lutheran theology and liturgy...) With MOPs it is relational and small group ministry at it's core.

I talked to mother's at my Arbonne booth about MOPs because I know how valuable those kind of small group ministries have been in my life. Add in the bond mothers share and I am so sure that God is up to something incredible.

So - in this late-night terribly written ramble - let me sum this up for you.


Pastor's spouses and Christians can be fantastic sales people if we think about how passionate we are about what God has done in our lives an how much we love Jesus, channel that need to share this Good News with everyone into sharing other things that bring us joy.  As soon as you take money, quotas and profits out of the equation - the things you're selling sell themselves. People want to know why you are so happy - the same way people want to know - 'What is so special about this God you know that makes you who you are?"

The End.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dear Sarah month 2

Dear Sarah,

Oh how life is so blessed because of you! I am honored to be a stay at home mom with you.

This month you have begun to develop even more of your own personality. Your smiles happen all the time all day long and you are a most happy baby! (With a few exceptions...)

Most notably, while your Mimi and Papa came to visit you for the second got well, a little stopped up. The doctor suggested we give you Karo syrup (that is dark corn syrup) in a bottle three times a day...we called it your milkshake. You took it like champ the way you've always taken the things we have fed you thus far...granted...sweetened milk was probably the most yummy of alternatives!

You can thank your Papa and Mimi for staying up with you twice while they were here so we could rest. You can also thank your Papa for telling us that when you turn 18 and think you know everything...we can tell you at one point, you were full of shit. I thanked him for that and said we could also tell you that you developed a foul mouth because of your grandparents. (For the record, if you talk to me like that, I will not have that shit.) You are going to be the future presiding Bishop of the ELCA after all...foul language need only be used when there is no alternative.

Moving on...

You spend a decent amount of the day awake these days. We have fun dancing together. We talk a lot. I promise when you get older I won't put so many words in your mouth. With a little help, you love to sit up during the conversations. Occasionally, you prefer to stand (while holding onto me for balance). Your little legs wobble and your head bobbles back and forth which only adds that much more cuteness and animation to our conversations.

You also love the changing table. When you were first born, you hated to be naked. Now I think you'd rather it be that way all the time. You get all silly, giggly and happy when we take your diaper off. And just so you don't get to thinking running around naked is the best thing ever when you're older. I always remind you that ladies always wear underwear...and real ladies keep it hidden.

One thing that warms my heart especially, is how calm you get when music is played. You like it when both your dad and I sing to you. Last night, you got your own personal concert from me and drifted peacefully off to sleep. I hope you continue to appreciate music as you get's a big part of how our family operates.

I still can't get enough kisses. We play the kissing game almost all day. I "steal" kisses from you...although when you're in the mood to play, you don't make it much of a challenge. You've learned to turn your head for the other cheek to be kissed. You also let out the biggest grin.

You love to be held and because of this love you have for are so not a fan of peek-a-boo.

Tonight, I accidentally cut your thumb while cutting your fingernails. True to form, you cried a little, but then decided it wasn't that big of a deal. For the record, I cried harder and longer for hurting you. I'm still sorry. And years from now when you finally read these letters, I'll still feel bad.

Thank you for your smiles, your kisses and the drool you leave on me while you're napping. I wouldn't have it any other way.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

2 months old!

Oh, hi. My name is Sarah and I am two months old, and the cutest thing you ever did see! 

Our sweet baby girl turned two months old on July 14th. At her 2 month check-up she weight 10 lbs and is a whopping 22 inches long! (I like to think she's going to be tall like her daddy!). This also occurred while Mimi and Papa came back to Amarillo for a visit. This means a lot of pictures - and first, we must show a few more of the two month old photo shoot.

You can tell, Sarah is much better at holding her head up. Thus, these pictures were a little easier to take than last month! 

"Mom you said sit still!"
"Hi daddy!"
"I'm done with this photoshoot."

At two months old Sarah is:
  • Holding her head up for fairly long periods of time.
  • Talking up a storm. It only makes sense to her, with the exception of the one night when she said "Hey" to her Mimi. It's on video, and we hope to post it soon.
  • Smiling a lot. Especially when you go to pick her up after a long nights sleep or a nap. Melts our hearts everytime.
  • Giggles
  • Loves sitting up like a big girl. (With some assistance)
  • Tracks lots of things with her eyes, including the chain that hangs down from the ceiling fan.
  • Seems to recognize Stephen and I as Mommy and Daddy and calms down much easier with us than others.
  • Sleeps longer stretches on most nights, four to five hours. (Thank you, Lord Jesus.)
  • She really loves the changing table. It is almost as though its the best place in the house. Fanning in the breeze and being naked which were once barely tolerable are now among the top things in life. 
  • Has a vice grib with her hand. She enjoys using it to grab Mommy's hair. 
  • She loves to stick out her tongue.
  • Loves kiss attacks. (Where Stephen and I kiss her over and over. She even sometimes turns her cheeks to each side so they have their turn.)
  • Continues to be the most adorable baby on the face of the planet.
And because I said there were lots of pictures...

 "No worries about the cat getting this tongue!"

"Why yes, I do have chubby cheeks. Why do you ask?"

 "I am quite the big girl, if I do say so myself."

Every now and then I stick my firsts out and roll them like I'm riding a motorcycle. I heard my Uncle John just got one some I'm practicing so I can ride one like him one day. "Vroom, vroom."

The happy Amarillo Friedrich's!

And yes, Mimi did come visit too. It just so happens Papa was a big 'ol hog with his baby girl he calls "Big Stuff". We promise we will make him stop when she becomes a teenager. There is a tight bond between those two.

Mimi and I decided Sarah is very much like us however, since I took her to the mall today for about three hours while I was waiting on my car being serviced at Sears. She was amazing. We fed twice, had three diaper changes, walked around the mall, snacked on a cookie (well I did...) all while being happy as a can be to take a stroll. Indeed, learning to love to shop is a Ward must. Glad she's learning early.

The baptism is coming up August 11th! Hope to see you all soon! 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Happy Fourth of July and other recaps from Week 7!

Get ready for loads of Sarah pictures!!!! (I know you're so dissapointed!)
 Since the 6 week period of hibernation is over, Stephen wanted to take Sarah out to visit some shut-ins. I thought he was going to do this on Monday so I dressed Sarah up real cute, with a skirt from her Aunt Kelly, some shoes I registered for at Target because, well look at them! And a cute white headband to match. Turns out he wasn't going to take her that day, so we went to the park with our friends Julia and Ayden.
 It was a beautiful day, rather mild for Texas standards! But, this is what Sarah thought of it! Snoooze.......

The next day, was really actually visitation day, so of course (darn) I had to dress her up again. Featuring another skirt from Aunt Kelly, a cardigan from another dress, and a headband from yet another dress, and very cute Mary Jane socks courtesy of BSLC member Carolyn Kelly.

We took her to visit Marian Snyder. Marian has taken a sharp turn for the not so good with a nerve disorder that has essentially been paralyzing her at a rapid rate. She also suffers from some memory loss. She isn't able to really control her arms or have much sensation in her hands, so we brought along the boppy pillow. For those of you who don't know, the boppy is a "u" shaped nursing pillow you put around your waist to help cradle the baby while breast feeding. A wise nurse at BSA told me in one of our breastfeeding classes that it also happens to be fantastic to help elderly people who don't have a lot of arm strength to still get to hold a baby.

 Marian and I share a deep affinity for cats, so I love to go visit her. It's been hard to see her deteriorate so quickly, but nothing lifted my spirits more than the gleam in her eye when Sarah appeared in front of her. When we asked her if she'd be ok letting Sarah sit in the boppy in her lap, so grinned so big and her entire face lit up! Of course that would be ok!

Sarah, as you can see, slept like a little angel while Marian ooed and ahhed over her. (Who wouldn't??) Unfortunately, we came rather late in the afternoon and Marian had to be taken to dinner. We met Marian in a common area where the cats at the nursing center like to hang out. (Couldn't be a better place for Marian!) After Marian left for dinner we went to her room to sign and say we had visited so that her husband Fred would know. (Marian's not to good with details...) The next day, when Fred came to the potluck at church for the Keenagers (the retired crowd), he sat down next to me to chat and I asked him if Marian remembered when he came back to be with her that evening. It was the FIRST thing she told him when he walked in the door. Such a special moment. It was a blessing to us all! Stephen and I both left thinking "Who can we share her with next?"

On a completely different note, here is Sarah later that day after a bath in one of her cloth diapers. Nothing is more tender than cuddling a clean fresh, wonderful smelling, warm baby right out of the bath. She has taken to bath time a LOT better than that first bath! She loves the warm water from the sprayer in the kitchen sink washing over her head. Then when I turn her over to spray and wash her back, she gets this blissful look like "Oh mom, thank you, this is the best." You're quite welcome.

With the fourth of July coming up, I found a fantastic pattern for this dress. I always dreamed of making clothes for my little girl, but upon marrying Stephen I pretty much let go of that thinking we would have a house full of boys! Not so fast! God has a sense of humor and we have a sweet little girl!

I embroidered the stars on the navy part and then made rick rack stripes. (It wasn't a completely original idea. The pattern had navy blue polka dot fabric for the yoke, but not having any and not wanting to buy a third cloth for such a tiny space, I decided to create a little star pattern in my embroidery software.)

I officially quit my job at Viking - which was very bittersweet. I told them not to forget me should the need help in the future, but it just wasn't worth it at this point. So, for the last time with my ridiculous discount, I bought a 5-thread serger for nearly 60% off the retail price. I also sent my embroidery machine in for a servicing because it hadn't had a good service since I bought it three years ago. (Another bittersweet moment - because I worked at Viking in SC and TX, it is the longest I've ever been employed with one company!) And so...I sewed a lot of the dress with my small mechanical machine which meant I had to do the buttonholes on that machine - which I was NEVER all that comfortable with demonstrating when it was in the store. My embroidery machine does buttonholes so much easier. I literally was nauseous when I created the buttonholes because by that point the dress was finished and I was so sure I would screw it up. Then I wasn't sure what to do because I wasn't particularly happy with my first and second attempts, but there was a strong possibility after I ripped them out that I could do worse...LOL! Luckily, third time was a charm and I held my breath as a slit them open careful not to catch the threads of the buttonhole and be stuck with a hole in my garment and no buttonhole. That's more commentary than you ever wanted about a buttonhole.

I digress! Here is Sarah in the finished project. We put the white headband on her, but it didn't last long! I meant to take more pictures later that night as we went over to the Herpich's house for a cookout/get together, but Sarah was passed between Karen (Herpich) and Ingrid (her daughter), Richard (Ingrid's husband) and a few others that I was thoroughly enjoying some adult conversation with the Berg's who we hadn't seen in a while. 
Final picture of cuteness. Be prepared for an abundance of Sarah pictures next week as Mimi and Papa are arriving again on Tuesday for another week long visit. They just can't stay away! (And we don't mind!)